Wil Wheaton on moralist game rage

by Paul William Tenny

Thumbnail image for GTA IVI'll probably talk some more about GTA IV sales once some firm numbers come in, since the invariable comparison to Halo 3 and some feature films will need debunking. Until then, I linked to some great common sense and informative comments by industry player Keith Boesky yesterday and Wil Wheaton has some insightful thoughts today on the moral outrage over a video game that isn't meant for and can't even be legally sold to kids anywhere in the country. To put things in perspective, Keith says that 'M' rated games made up less than one-quarter of video game sales last year and that these games wouldn't have harmful effects on kids if their parents would stop buying them in the first place.

This snippet is from Wil's PAX keynote speech:

Speaking of parents and children and video games and opportunistic, pandering politicians: it's none of their fucking business what I choose to play with my kids, and I wish they'd stop trying to tell me - and everyone else by extension - what my kids can and can't play. I didn't let my kids play violent or graphic games when they were too young to understand what the game was about because I'm a good parent who is involved in his kids' lives, not because some idiot politician tried to score easy political points with the authoritarian 20 percenters who think censorship is totally awesome.

These things ought to be plainly obvious by now. Legislation to regulate video games when they are already regulated effectively by the industry are about not much more than vote pandering to moral conservatives whose imaginations are probably a lot worse than these games are. Most every state law seeking to regulate games has been struck down for being unconstitutional violations of free speech, with some states using money from welfare programs to pay for their expensively and spectacularly failed lawsuits that followed. Couldn't this money and our politicians' time be better spent?

UPDATE -- Serial lawsuit troll Jack Thompson is once again trying to get Take-Two's games taken off the shelves. "Thompson sent a copy of the letter to Ars Technica, and his demands are far-reaching. "Indictments should be returned against Take Two corporately and its Chairman, Strauss Zelnick, along with other Take Two officers. Indictment should also be against Sony and Microsoft which are making this pornographic game available to minors, and openly so, on their PS3 and Xbox systems," Thompson wrote. "Further, indictments should be handed down against Wal-Mart, Best Buy, GameStop, and all other retailers distributing this game to minors at their retail stores, openly, to kids who are only seventeen."" GTA IV is rated 'M' for mature so stores can't and won't sell it to actual kids, and somebody ought to tell Thompson that 17-year-olds are not kids. Hell, these days even 15-year-olds aren't kids anymore.
in Games


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